Stuff-the-Bus” program faces some severe hurdles.
“This year, the Stuff-the-bus program is facing a multitude of issues and needs the public’s help more than ever! With furloughed employees, coupled with those that permanently lost their jobs due to COVID-19; many families children will need a hand up to start the school year off better prepared.” Mark Bledsoe, President United Way of Greater Texarkana. “For over a decade the Stuff the Bus Program through United Way of Greater Texarkana, along with tremendous community support, has furnished much-needed supplies to area students in the region. In the 2019-2020 year, the program distributed 1863 backpacks to 12 school districts, filled with vital supplies! The estimated cost for funding this program is approaching $24,000 this year, and we are not able to set out collection bins as in previous years!” “The most expensive items are the backpacks; approximately $6,000 (roughly $4.00 per backpack). The next expensive items are, College ruled filler paper & Composition notebooks at nearly $2,000 per category. If we could get a business to agree to pick up the expense of even one line item, that would help immensely,” Bledsoe said.
“Last year, we had several businesses to allow collection boxes to be placed in their location to assist with the collection of donated supplies. We also received line items from organizations, businesses, and individuals to aid in filling the backpacks. Our community has been outstanding in helping the Stuff the Bus Program succeed in reaching the goal each year. With the help of several civic, social, and Greek organizations, along with community volunteers, churches, and businesses, we were able to pack out in three days.” Said Rephonnie Roberts, Stuff-the-bus Co-chairperson & United Way Board Member.
“With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the school year dismissed early, but when the Fall Semester begins, we want to make sure the need for school supplies will not be a concern. This year the Stuff the Bus committee will be asking for monetary donations instead of supplies. These donations purchase supplies and backpacks to avoid any unnecessary contact for our volunteers who have helped pack out in the past. It is only a temporary measure, and we will utilize channels to purchase in bulk and stretch every dollar. The program may not reach every child, but with the help and resources of our community, we can increase our capacity. Along with grants and donated funds, we can make a difference in our children’s lives.”
“For eleven years, the United Way Backpack Program has lifted the burden of buying school supplies for many families in the Texarkana Arkansas School District. Last year alone, United Way donated backpacks to over 430 students in TASD,” commented Director of Public Relations Dr. Genia Bullock. “The backpack program also helps our teachers who often spend money out of their own pockets to purchase supplies for students. “Individuals and organizations across the Texarkana region collaborate to collect and stuff backpacks for TASD students as well as other schools in the area. I believe the United Way of Greater Texarkana’s ability to coordinate such a large community effort to “stuff the bus” with school supplies exemplifies the United Way,” said Dr. Bullock.
We have a fantastic support system in our area and are genuinely grateful for all the help to make the 2020-2021 school year Stuff the Bus Program a success. All donations are tax-deductible and send to:
The United Way of Greater Texarkana
214 Spruce Street
Texarkana, Texas 75501
**Please note on your contribution/check that it is for Stuff the Bus.
We are always thankful to every person, business, organization, and agency to make a difference in our community. Together we can and will make a difference.
Mark L. Bledsoe
United Way of Greater Texarkana, Inc
Office (903) 794-3105 Cell: (903) 278-0456